(Yicai Global) June 11 -- Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest tech firm by market cap, and its supermarket partner have partnered with Chinese drone-maker Ehang Intelligent Technology to test driverless aerial deliveries.
Yonghui Superstores, one of China’s biggest superstore brands, will start the pilot at its 600-square meter Super Species Guangzhou M+Park Store in southern China's Guangdong province, and aims to deliver within 20 minutes, Tencent’s online car retailer Yixian Group reported.
The distribution will be done by Ehang's four-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle which flies at a maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour and delivers up to 500 kilograms of goods within a 4.5-kilometer radius. Next, the Guangzhou-based drone firm has vowed to build an even stronger flying gadget; with a maximum load of 5 kilograms and radius of more than 7 kilometers.
Super Species, an innovative form of smart retail under Yonghui Superstores, constantly tries to transform retail with technology, said Zheng Yuhui, general manager of the grocer's Guangdong branch. "From QR code payment to facial recognition payment to UAV-based food delivery, Super Species has been working to make things easier for users."
Tencent invested in a 5-percent stake at Fujian-based Yonghui Superstores in December, as well as bought a 15-percent stake in Yonghui Yunchuang Technology, the operator of Super Species stores, aiming to enrich the latter with more offline and online retail scenarios, much alike rival Alibaba's Hema stores. In both brands' stores, customers can buy fresh produce, like salmon and prime beef, have them cooked in the store or order them to be delivered to their homes.
There are 44 Super Species units across China, while Hema has expanded to 46 stores in 13 cities in China, with plans to open up to 2,000 more branches in the next five years.
Editor: Emmi Laine